Saturday, September 11, 2010

From top to bottom, she's a woman, sunshine.

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Set in Argentina, Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) is a young, suave hustler who drifts from place to place, with nothing but a loaded die for company. One day, amidst a mugging, he is rescued by Buenos Aires casino magnate Ballin Mundson (George Macready) and the tycoon, spotting a diamond in the rough, employs Farrell as his henchman. The two men enjoy a sucessful relationship, for along while acknowledging the only third party as Ballin's cane. However, emotions become complicated when Ballin marries a beautiful but heartless woman, the eponymous Gilda (Rita Hayworth). Unknownst to Mundson, his loyal devotee and his new bride were once together, in a relationship that is the very definition of "tempestuous". Needless to say, that relationship did not end well, leading to both parties loathing each other, but also paving the way for one of the most wickedly entertaining three-handers in cinema.

Rita Hayworth shimmies across the stage in a wide range of figure-hugging silk dresses, her curves accentuated with shiny, bold belts. Her performance outshines ever the sparkliness of her belts, as she exudes sultry elegance in every frame. Her character is jaded, cynical and has no qualms with using and abusing any men she comes across, but one smouldering look from her and it's not hard to see why she has men going gaga for her. Her chemistry with Glenn Ford (whom she would later bed in real life) is sizzling and their exchanges demonstrate perfectly that fine line between love, hate, and how easy it is for the two to fuse. It is this edge to Gilda and Johnny's repartee that make them such a curious couple, and their anti-hero characters so compelling.

So sexy that I'm surprised certain parts were permitted by the stuffy Hayes Code of the time and featuring two very different renditions of what is now one of my favourite songs Put the Blame on Mame, Gilda is a representation of the ultimate battle of the sexes. The film has been read by some has having soft homoerotic undertones between Ford's character and Macready's, but, I read it differently. The love Johnny Farrell feels is all for the titular character, but, such are his jealouses and insecurities, that he fooled himself into believing otherwise, that he hated her and could do without her. When she returns into his life, with her usual array of games, his world is rocked again, and so begins the vicious circle.

And, to be honest, that is what love is all about, really.

4 comments:

Harry W said...

I wonder why you watched this film again. ;)

I enjoyed Gilda a lot. It shows the sort of games people play when they're trying to to make the other love them again, and how these games can prove destructive. Hayworth is in femme fatale heaven in it.

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For my part one and all have to go through this.

Kirsten Dunst said...
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